The Western Cape High Court has dismissed the Brackenfell High School’s application for an interdict against the EFF protesting outside the school’s grounds.
The application was brought by the school governing body (SGB) last month.
Brackenfell High School had argued before the court that the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) had a “history of violence”, while the party hit back, saying the school was not treating racism as seriously as it should be.
— EFF_Western Cape (@EFFWesternCape_) December 23, 2020
This was following multiple protests near the school’s premises that ended in violence. The school approached the courts after the EFF had threatened to continue with their action.
The protests came after an alleged private event, held by the school’s parents, hosted only white students, and allegedly did not invite black students.
Advocate Dali Mpofu, for the EFF, said while children should be protected, it must be from “imbibing racism”, not, “cocooning them from stun grenades”.
He pointed out that it was common cause that the EFF had twice in November protested peacefully against racism, the second time coming under attack by “racism hooligans and vigilantes”.
And while the school, in a communique the day after the violence, described the attack on the party members as “disgraceful”, Mpofu pointed out that it had that very day approached the Western Cape High Court, “to interdict the victims”.
“It’s a typical South African reaction,” Mpofu said, slamming what he called the “audacity” of the application. He argued it should be dismissed as it was “frivolous”.
“Racism is violence. It’s the worst form of violence. It can’t be perpetrated without violence or the threat thereof.”
‘EFF has history of violence’
But according to advocate Marius Verster, for the school, the EFF had a history of violence, commenting that they even had “the word fighter in their name”.
Judge Siraj Desai dismissed this as the introduction of an “irrelevant factor”.
“They also have economic in their name. Is this not also an important factor in one of the most unequal countries in the world?” Desai asked.
Mpofu argued that it was a fact that there had been a party which was attended only by white people.
He said an affidavit presented to the court showed that the principal had known of the party before it happened. It was also common cause that three teachers had attended, he maintained.
“The school, at worst, is guilty of acquiescence,” he argued, saying that racism “was not being treated as serious as an offense as it should”.
Desai agreed, saying that if the attendees had smoked dagga at the party, the school would certainly had stepped in, questioning why this was not the case if racism was apparent.
Prior to the recent mass gathering, Desai had declined to grant the SGB an urgent interdict after the EFF committed to not disrupt school activities ahead of the full case being heard.
The party had applied and had been granted permission to stage their legal protest, with participants limited to 100.
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